We’re just about half way through the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Though the first few picks were as expected, a number of significant surprises followed. The first major move of the night came when the Atlanta Falcons jumped all the way up from No. 27 in a trade with Cleveland at No. 6. The Falcons drafted a stud wide receiver in A.J. Green, a move that signaled they believe they’re ready to win now. In exchange, the Falcons gave up their second round pick, their fourth round pick, plus a first and a fourth in the 2012 Draft. Bold move.
The real shockers came though at No. 8 and No. 12, when Jake Locker and Christian Ponder were taken respectively. Chicago Bears fans will either love this pick by the Vikings, or be nervous that Minnesota found themselves a franchise quarterback for years to come. For the time being though, most believe that Ponder wasn’t worthy of such a high pick.
1) Carolina Panthers — Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
2) Denver Broncos — Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
3) Buffalo Bills — Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
4) Cincinnati Bengals — AJ Green, WR, Georgia
5) Arizona Cardinals — Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
6) Atlanta Falcons (via Cleveland) — Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
7) San Francisco 49ers — Aldon Smith, LB, Missouri
8) Tennessee Titans — Jake Locker, QB, Washington
9) Dallas Cowboys — Tyron Smith, OT, USC
10) Jacksonville Jaguars (via Washington) — Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
11) Houston Texans — JJ Watt, DE, Wisconsin
12) Minnesota Vikings — Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
13) Detroit Lions — Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
14) St. Louis Rams — Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
15) Miami Dolphins — Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida
Be sure to stay tuned for more updates here and at Windy City Gridiron while we wait to see who the Chicago Bears will select with the No. 30 pick later this evening.